You know you’re close to establishing yourself in a city when strangers ask for directions and you actually have helpful answers. Is there a good place to brunch nearby? How do we get to Water Tower Place? This morning I was two for two. But that’s not usually the case.
Chicago has been a lot of things to me over the past year. It’s where I got married. It’s where I officially reentered the “real world” after completing graduate school. But it’s never been home. For me, Chicago has always felt like a transitional space. I have literally been living out of suitcases, which have been packed and unpacked under five different roofs since arriving here last August.
This unsettling feeling was certainly exacerbated by the fact that my husband Siddique moved to Boston for a job in March. I’ve been going back and forth – swinging like a pendulum between work and my husband – ever since.
That said, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded and supported by family while here in Chicago. My in-laws live here and have shown me unparalleled generosity. They have graciously opened their home(s) to me, and my mother-in-law is one of the most generous people I have ever known. It’s also been especially nice to spend more time with my parents, who live nearby in Michigan. This is the closest in proximity that we’ve lived from each other in more than a decade. We talk on the phone every day, sometimes several times a day, but it’s been especially nice to see them in person a record number of times this year.
In spite of the fact that I am no longer blowing around the Windy City like an aimless paper bag, home is where the heart is. My heart is with my husband, and my husband is in Boston. And maybe that’s the good thing about feeling lost. As long as you’re lost, you know you’re not yet home. You know there’s another place where you belong. Somehow, that uneasy feeling of being lost brings you closer to it.